Nicolas Jackson will not risk another penalty row as he targets strong finish

Nicolas Jackson of Chelsea looks dejected as Cole Palmer takes a penalty during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Everton FC at Stamford Bridge on April 15, 2024 in London, England

Nicolas Jackson is determined to finish his first season at Chelsea on a high and will not risk that by repeating the penalty row that took the shine off another encouraging personal performance from the striker against Everton.

Telegraph Sport understands that Jackson is trying to finish the season with 15 or more Premier League goals and feels that 20 in all competitions may even be achievable, with Chelsea due to take on Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

That may well explain why Jackson was so keen to take the penalty against Everton, which Noni Madueke initially wanted and Cole Palmer eventually scored, and why he was clearly upset at being substituted before the final whistle having netted his 10th League goal of the campaign against the Toffees, which was his 13th in all competitions.

Jackson has now equalled the number of League goals Didier Drogba scored in his first season at Chelsea and is only three behind the former Ivory Coast international’s full total of 16.

Jackson was calmed down by his team-mate and close friend Moises Caicedo on the Stamford Bridge pitch after the final whistle on Monday night and is believed to have taken on board head coach Mauricio Pochettino’s warning that there must be no repeat on the penalty row which involved Jackson and Madueke.

Pochettino has now made it publicly clear that Palmer is the designated penalty taker and Jackson will not try to take another spot-kick off him as he chases his personal and team targets.

Madueke has scored two penalties for Chelsea this season, both when Palmer was not on the pitch and one of which, in the 89th minute against Crystal Palace, came when Jackson was also playing.

Jackson saw his instincts as a natural striker and goalscorer called into question earlier in the season by pundits such as Alan Shearer and Peter Crouch, and there may also have been a misguided desire to prove his appetite for goals by attempting to take what would have been his first penalty of the season against Everton.

Pochettino’s strong response to Jackson and Madueke arguing over Monday night’s penalty was in contrast to him refusing to criticise Raheem Sterling for taking a penalty against Leicester City in the FA Cup last month after asking for the ball from Palmer.

Sterling, though, was booed by some Chelsea fans and is yet to start a game since the Leicester tie. Jackson is not expected to now do anything that could risk his place in the team or his relationship with supporters, who he has been working hard to try to win over.

There was an incident with a fan during the home defeat to Brentford back in October, which Jackson apologised for in an exclusive interview with Telegraph Sport and the 22-year-old has since demonstrated an ability to shut out outside noise and focus on his game.

Nicolas Jackson scoring for Chelsea against Everton in the Premier League
Jackson scored Chelsea's fourth goal in the 6-0 win over Everton on Monday night - Getty Images/Justin Setterfield

Pochettino said that Jackson and Madueke will not be punished for their penalty row, but warned that anybody who repeats the incident in future will be “out.”

The street fighter in Jackson, who was still playing barefoot in Senegal just over six years ago, has been evident during his first season at Stamford Bridge, following his move from Villarreal, but he has displayed a willingness and ability to learn from his mistakes.

The goal against Everton, which was the result of good control and a shot on the turn, was further proof that Jackson’s finishing is improving, while his fifth assist of the season for Palmer’s first goal of a memorable evening showed his awareness. A growing understanding between the pair is certainly encouraging for Chelsea.

There are also signs that Jackson’s discipline has improved, although he must still avoid a yellow card against Arsenal next week to stop himself landing a two-game ban for 10 bookings.

Jackson appeared certain to be hit with a second ban of the season after being booked for the ninth time against Crystal Palace on February 12, having picked up his first one-game suspension for five bookings in his first six League appearances for Chelsea.

But he has gone seven League matches without a yellow card since his Palace booking, which is his longest such run of the campaign and has put him on the brink of avoiding a second ban.

With at least eight games remaining, starting with a second Wembley appearance, and Drogba’s first-season League tally already equalled, Jackson knows he can finish his first season strongly - even without trying to boost his numbers from the penalty spot.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.